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Herbal Sleep Remedies

april 5 featured image.jpgWHETHER YOU STRUGGLE with ongoing insomnia or just don’t like to toss and turn at night, finding a sleep remedy that works for you can be a bit of a crap shoot.
There are just so many options out there, from prescription sleep medications to meditation apps, and it’s hard to know what’s safe and effective.

If you’re worried about taking sleeping pills, you may have good reason. They are often linked to dependency and other health problems, so choosing to use them is a decision best made with your doctor after you’ve tried other courses of action. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural sleep aids available that can help your body relax and allow you to nod off gently, without the concerns that come with pharmaceuticals.

If you’re interested in trying herbal sleep remedies, these plants are a good place to start:

    • California Poppy: A small, yellow flower that has a range of medicinal uses, including as a sedative. It’s often taken as a tincture (meaning its essential oils are dissolved in alcohol).
    • Chamomile: A daisy-like flower that smells like apples. This plant is easy to grow in your own garden and dried to make soothing chamomile tea, a classic pre-bedtime drink to aid in relaxation.
    • Lavender: Purple flower spikes with a distinctive scent. Lavender essential oil is often used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation. It’s also a mild antiseptic.
    • Passionflower: This flower has wowed people for centuries, and it’s also useful in calming the mind and helping relieve stress. Passionflower’s medicinal properties are often collected in a tincture and administered in drops.
    • Valerian: These plant roots are gathered and dried for their powerful sedating properties. Often called the “poor man’s Valium,” valerian can be taken as a tea, tincture or in capsule form.
A Cup of Tea to Help You Sleep

cup of tea.jpgOne of the easiest ways to get started using sleep-friendly herbs is to brew a cup of warm, relaxing tea. The warmth spreads throughout your body to relax tired muscles, and choosing an herbal brew instead of caffeinated black tea will keep you from accidentally inducing a sleep-killing buzz.

Pure chamomile tea is a good choice, though there are also “sleepy time” herbal blends on the market that use a combination of herbs to help you relax. Some of these may include valerian, lavender and more. If you start a ritual of having a cup of tea an hour before bed, the combination of the herbs’ effects, their scent and your routine will all trigger your brain to realize that it’s time for bed.

Aromatherapy for a Good Night’s Rest

If you’re not much of a tea drinker, there are several herbs that can still help you sleep by virtue of their scent alone. Lavender and chamomile are good floral choices used by aromatherapists to induce calm. You can try adding drops of essential oil into a warm bath before bed for a deeply relaxing soak, or you can use an essential oil diffuser to lightly push the scent into your bedroom to help you drift off.

Herbal teas and aromatherapy are easy ways to reap the benefits of herbs without worrying about them interacting with any of your current medications. If you’re interested in trying tinctures and capsules, it’s a good idea to clear it with your doctor first. These plants are powerful, and they may provide your best rest yet.

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